Female Empowerment

Practicing diversity and gender equality makes us better people!

The preferential treatment of one gender over another is still unfortunately a reality and experienced on a daily basis throughout the world. Together with the Volkswagen Group Works Council, a chance to play campaigns at the global level for gender equality in all countries in terms of mindset, perspectives and societal action. Sport can play an important role here in achieving equality on the global scale.

Personal stories

Three impressive examples from Brazil, South Africa and Germany.

Lindiwe Cezula grew up in humble conditions in a township in South Africa. Her dream: to be the first in her family to go to university. A dream that initially seemed to be unachievable owing to a lack of opportunities at school. However sport and, most importantly, netball offered Lindiwe scope for development beyond her challenging everyday life. Lindiwe’s sporting talent was discovered thanks to a development programme run by a local partner organisation United Through Sports. She received a scholarship, educational support and was able to take part in sports programmes. In 2014, she travelled to the street football world championships in Brazil. United Through Sports ultimately supported Lindiwe to apply for a university scholarship, and she graduated with a degree in politics and administrative science in 2019, making her childhood dream come true. Lindiwe now works as a ‘Sport & Youth Network Coordinator’ at United Through Sports, and supports other girls and young women along their path in life.

Mariana Andrade comes from a district of São Paulo marked by violent conflicts between street gangs and the police. Football has always been Mariana’s passion. Football has helped her not only to develop as a person but, thanks to the support of local trainers, to have real prospects for the future. At the age of 17 she received an invitation to become a member of the Brazilian national squad, but her life circumstances held her back at this point in time. She had to quit professional football to support her family. But giving up was never an option for Mariana. Through sport, she was able to make a fresh start after this setback. Thanks to a local sponsorship project, she started to play street football and made it to the 2014 street football world championships in her home country. Even after 2014, football remained a significant part of her life – she gave advanced training courses, became a spokesperson for the youth network of terre des hommes and studied social work. In 2020, her dream of becoming a professional footballer became a reality. But she didn’t forget her origins. In addition to sport, she is now working to combat racism and violence against young people in her home city of São Paulo.

Luise Dreihardt is a participant in the KICKFAIR programme in Germany, which focuses on the personal development of young people and on democratic collaboration. Using sport as a medium, KICKFAIR supports individual learning goals in a targeted way, thereby ensuring the personal further development of participants. Luise has been an active participant in KICKFAIR since her schooldays. First taking part as a player, she then gradually got more involved in the numerous development programmes and became youth leader. Her own experience in and with the project motivated Luise to organise street football tournaments herself, to show children and adolescents ways to cope with their personal challenges through the enjoyment of football. Luise became a role model for young girls who took part in the projects after her. Today, Luise lives near Berlin where she is currently completing a year-long voluntary work programme.